Who Am I?
Hi, I’m Christian. I have 20+ years of experience as an agency owner, new business director and business development consultant. I help advertising agencies and marketing companies build sales prospecting programs that create a predictable pipeline and win new business from their dream clients.
I currently serve as VP, Group Account Director at Catapult New Business, where I lead a team focused on generating new business for agencies small to large. During my tenure, I have also served as Sales Director and generated over $20MM in new business opportunities for agencies across disciplines.
Prior to Catapult, I founded and ran Global Adrenaline, an event marketing and event production agency. We serviced a strong list of companies including Allstate, Anheuser-Busch, Disney, Red Bull, Pernod-Ricard and Toyota.
I practice a healthy lifestyle with a focus on mind, body and spirit. I am a graduate of DePaul University and live in Chicago. I enjoy sharing amazing life experiences with my beautiful daughter Bianca, including embarking on a quest to see a Chicago Cubs game in every MLB ballpark in baseball.
I grew up in a Chicago working-class household. Dad immigrated to the U.S. from Ukraine and played soccer for the U.S. National Team and professionally in the 1970s, when sports salaries were not what they are today. After he retired, Dad worked as an airline chef.
Mom grew up at a time when women were discouraged from going to college. She struggled to find good work and waited tables to make ends meet.
We were a decidedly lower-middle-class family. Any extra money my parents did make went to making sure my sister and I had the basic necessities and a good education.
I told myself I didn’t want to live like that. I was entrepreneurial early, starting a lawn service at 12, and buying and selling baseball cards.
Still in high school in the late 1990s, I was hanging at juice bars that were still playing ’70s and ’80s music, just as house music was booming. I saw an opportunity, rented a banquet hall, booked “real” DJs, printed flyers and went to promote at every school, shopping mall, and record store around. Over 1,000 tickets sold and a business was born.
I did events wherever I could get space, and soon was also selling DJ mix tapes out of the trunk of my car to pay for college.
I graduated from DePaul University and got a job as a marketing coordinator. I was still producing and promoting events on the side. But one day, I realized I was making more money, having more fun and learning more with my side hustle than I was with the “real job.”
Taking a Leap
I quit and went all in. My company, Global Adrenaline, was soon doing business with major hospitality groups like Starwood and Hilton. I built a sales and marketing machine that leveraged email, word-of-mouth, text messaging, and the phone to sell tickets and sponsorships. We managed, marketed or hosted over 300 events and concerts annually. I sold sponsorships to Anheuser-Busch, Absolut, Miller Coors and Red Bull. The business earned more than $10MM in lifetime revenue.
Corporate America took notice that I knew how to get the attention of millennials. I launched an experiential marketing division that would activate events and guerilla marketing programs for brands like Disney, Toyota and Allstate. It soon became my major business focus.
New Kid on the Block
I was doing a wide range of business development functions for the agency: researching, prospecting and networking at industry events.
I was an outsider who challenged conventional wisdom. I learned on the job with no agency experience.
We expanded to Las Vegas, Cancun, Miami, Phoenix/Scottsdale and Louisville, working with major artists like Lady Gaga and Pitbull.
But, as a small-business owner, I wore many hats. If a printer broke, I was IT. When someone needed a check, I was accounting. I found myself frustrated. My real passion was strategy and business development.
In the late 2000s, things began to unravel. Our experiential marketing business evaporated in the Great Recession. We fought a frivolous lawsuit. I had a daughter and became estranged from her mother. I broke my ankle and leg in a sports injury. And then lost my downtown condo in the subprime mortgage crisis. The business did not survive.
A New Start
My life felt like it was in chaos. My professional and personal lives were unraveling and I was in a dark place. I had hit rock bottom.
But I picked myself up and landed a business development role with an experiential marketing agency called Cardenas Marketing Network. There, I implemented the agency’s first new business plan and was a top producer. I became a contributor to trade publications covering topics such as millennials, music sponsorships, entertainment and multicultural marketing.
The industry took notice and I took a job at Catapult New Business, the leading outsourced business development firm for agencies and marketing service providers. At Catapult, I’ve worked with dozens of clients ranging from small independent shops to large network agencies across a diverse set of disciplines including creative, CRM, experiential, market research, social media and shopper marketing.
I became the company’s top sales performer and generated over $20MM in new business opportunities for my agency clients. Within 2 years, I was promoted to Group Account Director, where I mentor/coach a team of Sales Directors, while maintaining and enhancing our client relationships.
I live a healthy lifestyle with a focus on my mind, body and spirit. I exercise 4x per week, watch what I eat and practice Zen meditation. I’m a lifelong baseball fan and was there in Cleveland when the Chicago Cubs ended a 108-year drought and won the 2016 World Series.
New Business Consultant
I have had the unique opportunity to get under the hood of many different agencies. Working with so many clients, I had to develop a process that’s effective, efficient and scalable.
Most agencies lack a defined business development plan, and have trouble getting in front of their dream clients. I started this website to share my knowledge as an entrepreneur, agency owner and sales consultant.
I may be an outsider, but what I do works. The days of a “Mad Men” advertising industry are over. The world is exponentially changing and what worked 10 years ago, 5 years ago, even last year – is often irrelevant.
My story is one of perseverance and seizing opportunity when it presents itself. I hope my experiences and insights can help you, too, learn the skills that will catapult you to success, prosperity and happiness.